Initiating an Age Discrimination Case

California presumes an employment relationship to be “at will.”  This means that the employer-employee relationship can end at any time, by either the employer or employee for any lawful reason.  However, an employer cannot discriminate against an employee based on his or her age.  California’s laws protect employees over forty years old from age discrimination.  There are no discrimination laws protecting young employees though.  An employer may terminate or demote its employees, but it must do so without discriminatory intent. 

To bring an age discrimination lawsuit in California, an employee must exhaust his or her administrative remedies by filing a verified complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing.  The complaint must be filed within three years of any adverse employment action.  The Department of Fair Employment and Housing will review the complaint, and either: decide to take legal action against the employer, or issue a right-to-sue letter to the employee.  When an employee receives the right-to-sue letter, he or she has one year to initiate a lawsuit. 

To file a complaint in court, an employee must show that (1) he or she is forty years old or older, (2) he or she was performing their job duties competently, (3) he or she suffered from an adverse employment action, such as termination or demotion, and lastly, (4) there is some evidence of the employer’s discriminatory motive.  Once the employee makes his or her preliminary showing of discrimination, the employer must prove that it acted without discriminatory intent. 

If you or your business is facing an age discrimination claim from an employee, contact the Dias Law Firm, Inc. for legal representation. 

By: Sarah M. Hacker, Esq

For the general public: This Blog/Web Site is made available by the law firm publisher, Dias Law Firm, Inc., for educational purposes. It provides general information and a general understanding of the law, but does not provide specific legal advice. By using this site, commenting on posts, or sending inquiries through the site or contact email, you confirm that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction.

For attorneys: This Blog/Web Site is informational in nature and is not a substitute for legal research or a consultation on specific matters pertaining to your clients. Due to the dynamic nature of legal doctrines, what might be accurate one day may be inaccurate the next. As such, the contents of this blog must not be relied upon as a basis for arguments to a court or for your advice to clients without, again, further research or a consultation with our professionals.

Photo 132565974 © Fizkes |